Category: Latest

Manchester United’s Angst & Sunderland’s Conflict

When the ball’s not rolling your way, the ball’s not rolling your way. Into extra-time having won in ninety minutes – had the away goals rule applied after ninety minutes, this would have been enough to see them squeeze through to the final – they were pinned back to almost certain defeat with a minute of extra-time left to play, but somehow they still they managed to find the briefest moments of time to force a penalty shoot-out. And then they lost the penalty shoot-out. Even though the other team missed three out of their five shots at goal. On a night when the villains outshone the heroes by a factor of appoximately three to one, Manchester United imploded in the most improbable, spectacular, self-inflicted manner possible. Had Brian Glanville used it as a plot line in a new children’s novel called “Goalkeepers Are Different II: The Personal Inner Torment Of David De Gea,” it would have been laughed out of court as “too far-fetched to be credible” by the press and public alike. Where they found a way to lose, they found a way to lose. But there was a peculiar beauty in defeat of this nature. It was epic, sweeping, almost grandiose. Not that this will come as much of a crumb of comfort to their supporters today. For Sunderland supporters, there may be an element of...

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So, Why Is The Leeds United Takeover Taking So Long, Then?

This evening, the supporters of Leeds United AFC could well be forgiven for contemplating the fact that it wasn’t meant to turn out like this. When Ken Bates finally surrendered the chairmanship of the club in July of last year, a new era was supposed to be at the point of dawning for a club – and a city – that has now been almost a full decade without Premier League football, but over the last couple of months a much-reported takeover of the club has stalled, whilst on the pitch the team has started to look every bit...

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Graham Turner Leaves Shrewsbury Town With His Dignity Intact

In an era during which it can be difficult to zone out the white noise of vitriol and rage that seems to accompany professional football wherever it goes, it comes as no little surprise to see the resignation of a manager from his position with a degree mutual respect between himself, the football club that they both represented and the club itself. So it was, however, today with the departure of Graham Turner from the managerial position at League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town. In a keenly-fought division, a run of just one win in their last eight matches had pushed Shrewsbury into the relegation places at the foot of the table, but today Turner departed from The New Meadow with his head held high, his reputation and dignity intact. Graham Turner and Shrewsbury Town Football Club go back a very long way indeed. Turner first arrived at the club’s former home Gay Meadow as a player from Chester in 1973, and took over as the club’s manager five years later, at the age of thirty. It was from here that, under his tutelage, the club embarked upon its finest season. The continuing progress made by the other two clubs promoted from Division Three of the Football League that season, Swansea City and Watford, meant that Shrewsbury Town’s achievements that season perhaps didn’t quite get the recognition that team deserved,...

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Pep’s New Tune Takes Bayern to the Top

When Pep Guardiola was announced as the replacement to Jupp Heynkes as head coach of Bayern Munich,  in January 2013, the former Barcelona man could not have fathomed that he’d have so much to live up to after last season’s treble. But as the second half of the season gets underway this weekend, Bayern look set for even more trophies. As the Bayern players went to celebrate with their fans at the Camp Nou, Barcelona in May, last year, after having thrashed the Catalan side 7-0 over two legs in the Champions League semi-final, it would have been tempting to question the wisdom of the appointment of their new coach, Pep Guardiola, a few months hence. After all, the former Barca coach was one of the architects of the Tiki-taka style of play that had, up until that moment, dominated the hearts, minds and trophies of the European game for so long. But since Bayern had found a way of counteracting Barcelona, this surely meant that Guardiola’s method was now redundant and the last thing Bayern should do is employ a coach who might set back the Bavarians, tactically. Guardiola was not in charge of the Catalans the night that they were humbled by Bayern but his legacy remains. Barca played to Pep’s tune while Bayern’s style of play, under Jupp Heynkes last season was based on pace, fast transition and closing down the...

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Nicolas Anelka, The Quenelle, Gestures & Words

It was a tense and nervy evening at The Hawthorns tonight, as West Bromwich Albion and Everton played out a one-all draw that did neither too many favours in this year’s Premier League. Everton missed out on the chance to leapfrog back over Tottenham Hotspur and into fifth place in the table, whilst West Bromwich Albion rose to thirteenth place in the table but remain just four points above the relegation places in what has become an extremely congested bottom half of the league table. Tonight, though, the match being played was only part of a wider issue facing...

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